Khodorkovsky says 'autocrat' Putin trying to show he is Russia's top dog with Navalny arrest

LONDON (Reuters) - Mikhail Khodorkovsky, a former oil tycoon who fell foul of the Kremlin, said on Monday that the arrest of Alexei Navalny was an attempt by President Vladimir Putin, whom he cast as an 'ageing autocrat', to show that he is still Russia's top dog. Khodorkovsky said the West should act rather than talk if it wanted to have any influence on the Kremlin after Navalny's arrest. The Kremlin has said that Navalny, who was remanded in pre-trial detention for 30 days on Monday for violating the terms of a suspended jail sentence, must face justice like any other citizen if he has done anything wrong, and said the West should keep out of the case.

Reuters January 19, 2021 00:11:09 IST
Khodorkovsky says 'autocrat' Putin trying to show he is Russia's top dog with Navalny arrest

Khodorkovsky says autocrat Putin trying to show he is Russias top dog with Navalny arrest

LONDON (Reuters) - Mikhail Khodorkovsky, a former oil tycoon who fell foul of the Kremlin, said on Monday that the arrest of Alexei Navalny was an attempt by President Vladimir Putin, whom he cast as an "ageing autocrat", to show that he is still Russia's top dog.

Khodorkovsky said the West should act rather than talk if it wanted to have any influence on the Kremlin after Navalny's arrest.

The Kremlin has said that Navalny, who was remanded in pre-trial detention for 30 days on Monday for violating the terms of a suspended jail sentence, must face justice like any other citizen if he has done anything wrong, and said the West should keep out of the case.

Khodorkovsky said the West should impose sanctions on individuals involved in expanding Russia's network of corrupt money across the world, rather than targeting Russia's Nord Stream 2 gas pipeline.

"Putin feels he has to show he is the main animal in the herd or that people will believe that he is no longer the top dog," Khodorkovsky, 57, told Reuters in London when asked why Navalny had been targetted.

"For an ageing autocrat, who rules through bandit groups and bandit methods, the law will never defend him. The only thing that defends Putin is the perception... that he is the top dog - that has been placed yet again in doubt."

Khodorkovsky, once Russia's richest man, was arrested on a plane in Siberia in 2003 and jailed for massive tax evasion and fraud and his once mighty oil company, Yukos, was split apart.

The Kremlin cast him as a common criminal. Khodorkovsky denied the charges and was released in 2013 after spending 10 years in custody.

"The arrest of Navalny means that the Putin regime, his bandit regime, is moving to totalitarian methods of pressure on society," Khodorkovsky told Reuters in London.

Khodorkovsky said he wanted to believe that Navalny would be released but that the reality was Navalny would face escalating pressure from the Russian authorities, including the possibility of a 10-year prison term.

"He could be given 10 years - that in summary is what we could see at this stage," he said.

(Reporting by Guy Faulconbridge; editing by Michael Holden)

This story has not been edited by Firstpost staff and is generated by auto-feed.

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